The Imperial Palace and the Wulin signed a non-aggression treaty.
It was a truce, wherein one party wouldn’t interfere with the workings of the other, however, neither of them was the kind to stand still when an armed group infiltrated their base. At the Imperial Palace, Wulin was always treated as a threat and was carefully kept in place.
The Demonic Cult was considered to be the deadliest by the Imperial Palace ever since the war. The Guardians were created as the hidden power to protect the Imperial Palace from internal threats since the time of King Taejo.
‘A place where one can savour their power to its utmost might.’
Of the three major powers, only the Demonic Cult was the odd one.
The other two groups were a huge cluster of numerous clans so the direction, working, and power could shift at any moment, but the Demonic cult was a one-man-powered working system. Just like how the Imperial family inherits the throne.
‘I thought they’d be from a wandering Wulin clan, but it turns out to be the Lord himself.’
It was a well-known fact that the Demonic cult had thousands of believers. Everyone heard that thousands of men of the Demonic Cult would even jump into hellfire with one order from their Lord.
If such a strong person, the Lord of the Demonic Cult, harbours ill feelings towards the Imperial family, the Daemyeong Empire wouldn’t be able to handle the situation when it gets out of hand.
“You, you’re the Lord of the Demonic Cult?”
Yeonwol couldn’t hide her trembling voice when she asked Chun Yeowun.
Chun Yeowun didn’t bother giving her a genuine answer. Rather, he spoke words that made Yeongwol doubt her ears.
“…I can’t waste time here.”
Chun Yeowun shook his head.
He had never guessed that Hameng wasn’t just famous in Wulin, but also in the Imperial Palace. He surmised that it was his red hair that gave away their identity.
[Hmm, I am sorry.]
Hameng apologized to Chun Yeowun. Honestly, he didn’t intend to do this. Before leaving the Demonic Cult, Chun Yeowun had asked Hameng to dye his hair black. However, it wasn’t like he refused, he actually willingly colored his hair to disguise himself, but each time he used his inner energy, his hair turned back to its original color.
‘I should have at least used a hood!’
Unless there was anything that needed his immediate attention, he was to stay hidden. Hameng knew that someone would definitely recognize him for his hair, yet, he only covered his face. To think that he got identified in a matter of seconds during his first rendezvous.
Leader Yeongwol. Couldn’t hide her embarrassment anymore.
‘He-he didn’t deny it.’
Hameng didn’t outright affirm it, but it was the presence of the Lord of the Demonic Cult which answered her question. Who else would get escorted by the Guardians of the Demonic Cult, if not their Lord?
‘For the Lord of the Demonic Cult to invade the Imperial Palace.’
Under Yeongwol’s impression, the Lord of the Demonic Cult was fearless. This was referenced to his reputation within the Wulin. However, in reality, the Lord was different from the hearsays.
Wasn’t he one of the Lords who signed the non-aggression treaty and had a fair relationship with the Emperor?
‘How should I act now?’
According to the Imperial and Guardian’s rules, anyone who was discovered to have trespassed into the Imperial Palace had to be suppressed unconditionally, regardless of their status. They can be killed in an event of a rebellion.
However, Yeongwol found it hard to come to a decision. She couldn’t even guess what would happen to her if she touched the Lord of the Demonic Cult.
The two inspection maids were waiting for her orders.
‘If he is the Lord of the Demonic cult… keuk!’
If the Lord of the Demonic Cult invaded alone, she would’ve definitely tried to exterminate him. However, when the two savvy guardians appeared, Yeongwol wasn’t sure what to do. In the end, she came to conclude that it would be difficult to solve the problem at hand. Therefore, she came up with an exquisite trick.
‘Ah! Right! Since it has come to this, I can take them into the Guardian’s palace and deal with them.’
The Guardian’s palace was filled with skilled people including a Supreme Master Warrior. It seemed better to take them to the 2nd leader, who had greater executive and deciding power than herself. Politely, Yeongwol said to Chun Yeowun:
“If you sir, are the Lord of the Demonic Cult, how about we talk this out?”
She cautiously spoke. Obviously, it was unreasonable to call them infiltrators in their faces. However, she couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable as they didn’t answer for a long time. She continued the conversation.
“First of all, forgive me for my rudeness as I was unaware of your noble status.”
Leader Yeongwol bowed her head and apologized. Considering that they were in the Imperial Palace, the place where the Emperor resides, she treated the Lord of the Demonic Cult accordingly.
Yeongwol slowly lifted her head and spoke.
“I would still like to make a point. The Lord entered the Imperial Palace without any prior notice despite the non-aggression treaty. So, if you can consider forsaking your mission, we will be more than happy to turn a blind eye.”
She tried her finest to act politely. However, she put it as if Chun Yeowun was the one at fault. And her words continued.
“Well, how could we mistreat the noble as such? We can continue with talking in the Guardian Palace along with the others so that this matter can be handled as smoothly as possible. I know that you may feel wary of us, but I will earnestly serve you.”
Bringing her hands together, she once again bowed. The woman was clever. In doing so, she was hoping for a negotiation without coming off as rude. Chun Yeowun wasn’t an opponent she wanted to fight anymore.
She would be able to prevent futile sacrifices, saving face for the other members of the Guardians.
‘Huhu, you can’t do anything anymore. Even if you are part of the Wulin, you can’t act stubborn like any soldier as you are being considered as a Lord now. In addition, if his identity is revealed, it will be difficult for him to make a fuss in the Imperial Palace.’
She was gloating as she thought of the plan she weaved. Yeongwol looked at Chun Yeowun and waited for his answer.
Chun Yeowun showed a light smile. Yeongwol, who took it as a positive reaction, thought that her trick worked.
‘I did it!’
Now all she had to do was take the Lord and his men to the Guardian Palace, report it to the 1st leader or even the Emperor, and wait for their orders. In fact, she was hoping for the non-aggression treaty between the Imperial Palace and the Wulin to fall apart because of this situation.
‘Hopefully, His Highness, who hears the report from the 1st leader, gets angry and orders for the destruction of the entire Wulin. Hohoho!’
Just the thought of it was pleasing.
She was the kind who thought that the men of Wulin could never stand on an equal footing with the Imperial family. If what she hoped for happened, everyone would be under the Emperor.
“You have made the right choice. Now follow m…”
Before she could even finish her words, the sound of something slashing rang in her ears.
The sound subsided and a red line appeared on the bodies of the five court ladies who stood between Chun Yeowun and Yeongwol.
The moment she came back to reality, she realized that the court ladies' throats were cut.
-thud! Thud! Thud!
Blood gushed out from their bodies soaking their clothes. Due to the scales on them, the women were unable to move their hands promptly. Yeongwol was shocked at what happened, all she could see was a bright blue hand blade on Chun Yeowun.
It was obvious that this was incomparable to any other Air Sword.
“This…! This! ...What are you doing?”
She never imagined that he would kill all the court ladies. Seeing Yeongwol stutter, Chun Yeowun opened his mouth to let her know his intentions.
“This was fun while it lasted. You wrapped your intention in good words, but in the end, you'll backstab me?”
“Uh, when did I even say that? Did I even act as such? I am going to assist you while we speak to the higher leaders…”
“Stop with the bullshit.”
Strong energy began to emanate from his body. It was an energy-momentum that would occasionally come from the Emperor. Yeongwol went silent without realizing it.
“You old woman, you roll your tongue like a fox. I clearly warned you. I guess it was good enough seeing how you forsake your people.”
Honestly, this situation held no benefits to the Demonic Cult. They hid in the Imperial Palace to get rid of all the spies. If only the Guardians had handed over one spy (Elder Khum) as Chun Yeowun asked, he would’ve let the Guardians take credit, while he gets the information.
Apparently, she was not satisfied with that, Yeongwol used tricks that were obvious to everyone’s eyes.
“Ar-aren’t you scared of the aftereffects of such behaviour? If His Highness is told of such unruliness, the non-aggression treaty will be broken.”
When her plan didn’t work, Yeongwol decided to use the Emperor’s name for her benefit. With his lips curled up, Chun Yeowun spoke.
“Who would let the Emperor know if all of you ended up dying here?”
Yeongwol’s eyes shook, unable to focus. She tried to turn herself into a prominent figure but ended up walking to the edge of a cliff.
‘It, it was my misjudgement.’
There were two kinds of opponents, one who could be dealt with words, and the other, wherein words should never be used. Foolishly, she ended up being the latter.
“Great Guardian and Left Guardian. Kill them all, don’t even spare a single person.”
At Chun Yeowun’s command, both of them accepted the order.
As if they were waiting for the command to fall, they leaped forward making Yeongwol and the other court ladies act like mere mortals who needed saving.
“S-stop! Don’t come any further!”
Unlike the leader, the expressions of the court ladies went blunt. As soon as the order fell, Great Guardian Marakim and Left Guardian Hameng moved to implement it. Their speed and efficiency couldn’t even compare to the other warriors as they went to kill them all.
They were notorious ranked Guardians of the Demonic Cult.
The court ladies tried to attack Hameng with flame Qi from all directions, but none could touch a strand of his hair.
“That flame doesn’t work on me!”
They were no match for his skills. Instead, they were hit by the red sword of Hameng.
They were the court ladies who were unable to feel pain, so even if they got cut or pierced, they kept on attacking until they could move no more.
Puhk! Clang! Thud!
The sword cut through the ladies and they fell to the floor unable to get up. They turned immobile because of the energy that Hameng released while using the Fire Sword. There was no man who could live with the after-effects of Hameng’s sword.
Slash! Chop! Pierce!
With the nickname Wind God, Marakim moved swiftly, cutting down the throats of the court ladies at the speed of the wind. He moved with such agility that even the court ladies who showed beast resilient moves weren’t able to assess what was going on.
Even if they were unable to feel pain, they couldn’t help but feel scared towards an invisible opponent.
“I can’t see him.”
The faces of the remaining people in the courtyard turned pale. Nearly half of the court ladies died. Even the two court ladies who were skilled enough to deal with the four Blade God Six Martial Clan’s spies seemed like nothing but children.
“Get yourself in the game!”
Yeongwol couldn’t help but fall into confusion as the tables got turned. Biting down on her lips, her eyes wandered.
“I will take care of the leader.”
“Lord...Lord of the Demonic Cult?”
“Don’t be scared. No matter what you plan, I can stop it.”
There was no way that he would let her go, at least not after she knew his real identity. She knew that he was the Lord of the Demonic Cult, and also fought with him for a brief moment.
From her knowledge, he seemed to be less skilled than the 2 guardians.
‘When we fought before, we were on the same level. If the others joined, I can subdue him.’
If the Lord of the Demonic Cult was captured, his two guardians would cease.
“To create a gap between us by collaborating with others!”
The two court maids hesitated for a moment before they ran to Chun Yeowun.
One of the maid’s shoulders was hit, her joint had trouble moving because of the clash she had with Hameng previously. Despite that, they still aimed for Chun Yeowun’s head while unfolding their sword.
‘Aim at the moment they stop their attacks.’
In a breath, Yeongwol moved from her position to the back of Chun Yeowun as the two maids dealt with him in front. Her movements were quick, she couldn’t be compared to the court ladies or the spies.
Slash! Slash! Slash! Slash!
As the sword aimed for the head, it turned into a whip. However, even as she wielded her blazing sword whip right in front of Chun Yeowun, he didn’t look scared.
‘What is he up to?’
When her confidence turned into confusion, Chun Yeowun’s hands moved like lightning and grasped the wrist of the maid who was waving the sword.
‘It- it makes no sense. To do this in the middle of wielding!’
It wasn’t like her sword had been destroyed, but she was blocked head-on. Chun Yeowon held onto her flaming hand as if it didn't invoke pain. She was shocked. Crackle!
‘Ugh, it’s cold!’
A strong chill spread into her bones. It was shocking enough that her hand got caught, but when she tried to pull it out from Chun Yeowun’s grasp, something more flustering happened.
“Ahhh! W-wait! What did you do…”
Chun Yeowun strengthened his hands, lifted her body as if she was a stuffed toy, and threw her aside as the maids readied to strike him.
As they were thrown onto the floor, its impact on the wounded court maids was undetectable. The force he used to throw the maid made the stone floor crack that was beneath the point of impact. They all felt helpless against Chun Yeowun.
It was then that Yeongwol, who was waiting for a gap, struck him. She let her burning red arms covered with scales out of her sleeves.
Her flame Qi emanated a force that wanted to burn down everything that surrounded her. It was the moment that she had been waiting for.
However, it didn’t go as planned.
She thought that when she attacked him from behind, Chun Yeowun would turn and block her. But Chun Yeowun moved away.
Thanks to that, her flame Qi couldn’t reach Chun Yeowun. However, Chun Yeowun, who felt the rising energy behind him, jumped and moved in the opposite direction in the yard.
‘It can’t be!’
Step! Step! Step! Step!
Chun Yeowun’s hand held a sword imbued with black Qi as he narrowed the distance between the both of them. With the black sword blazing, Chun Yeowun struck her side. He was aiming for her hands that held the flames.
‘I need to avoid it!’
Normally, she would trust that the scales on her body could protect her. But the energy from the black Qi sword instilled fear in her.
‘I- I need to avoid it at all costs!’
Shocked, she tried to force herself to stop. Though exerting more energy than she had could cause her internal damage, she felt that internal injury was a lot better than getting her arms cut off.
Seeing the blood gush from her sides, she pulled her arms away.
“I did warn you in the beginning,”
Yeongwol’s eyes looked at Chun Yeowun who spoke frigidly. Cold metal passed through her wrists before she could even regain her composure.
Yeongwol’s eyes widened as she realized what happened. She screamed so loud that veins began to pop on her neck and face.
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